“There are diversities of gifts, but the same Spirit. There are differences of ministries, but the same Lord. And there are diversities of activities, but it is the same God who works all in all.” ~ 1 Corinthians 12:4-6
I am unendingly impressed and humbled by the resilience and flexibility of our national missionaries. They are committed to living the Gospel and advancing God’s kingdom by any means necessary.
After the Nepal earthquakes in 2015, the border that our missionaries crossed to reach Tibet was closed by China.
Instead of stopping ministry in Tibet, our missionaries, while reeling from the tragedy caused by the quakes themselves, quickly refocused on discipling and training seven Sherpas. These men were able to cross the border and continue the ministry, so that the momentum in underground churches in Tibet wouldn’t be stopped.
In Pakistan, when one of our missionaries began her ministry, she quickly realized that in her male-dominated culture she would never be able to share the Gospel in public with other women.
She found a better way.
“I preach to those women who cannot go out of their homes due to restrictions set by the male-dominant society in Pakistan. I dare to go into their homes and pray with them there. I go door-to-door to meet with them and tell them what I know from the Bible. Once a week, if it’s possible for the women to come, I gather them together in their homes and we worship the Lord, talk about the Bible, and pray together.”
Through her ministry, hundreds of women have had the church brought to them, and dozens have turned to Christ.
A more sobering example occurred when one of our missionaries in India was tragically injured in a train accident. He lost his left leg and hand. He is now severely disabled in a country that is not accommodating to disabilities.
He didn’t stop ministry.
In fact, in his report following the accident, these were his goals to complete with his team in the following six months:
“Pray as I plan to distribute 1,000 tracts, conduct 20 baptisms, complete six Gospel outreach programs, and start house churches in 10 new villages.”
Now, three years later, he continues ministry and has refocused specifically to reach others with disabilities.
These examples are reflective of our entire network of national missionaries.
Harvest Bridge receives reports from 268 national missionaries in eight countries. They work in some of the most diverse countries in the world, with Hindu, Muslim, or Buddhist majorities. In 2016 alone, through these 268 national missionaries, 3,800 new Christians were baptized, 123 churches and house churches were planted, and over 1,000 pastors and lay leaders were trained.
This happened in countries with some of the smallest and most persecuted Christian populations in the world.
And by God’s grace, our partners did this with a budget approximately the same as the cost of training and sending four Western missionaries.
Our missionaries saw this fruit by not only being flexible and attuned to the Holy Spirit’s leading, but by recognizing the specific needs of their communities and how best to respond to them.
For example, in Bhutan, where depression is high and drug use among young people is common, our missionaries focus on counseling, youth sports ministry, and prayer ministry.
In Bangladesh, where education is highly valued, the focus is on children’s education, agricultural and vocational training programs, and women’s ministry.
In Myanmar (Burma), where the church is growing quickly but lacks trained leaders, the focus is on pastor training, one on one discipleship, and evangelism to unreached people groups.
In our newsletters and social media, we report such diverse stories and needs that it can seem our ministry is pulled in many directions. However, our aim is always the same: to help South Asian national missionaries reach their own people with the Gospel in the most effective ways possible.
Your support to our Where Needed Most fund is critical to our ability to do this work. Where Needed Most funds allow us, along with our missionaries, to quickly respond to urgent needs such as medical emergencies, severe persecution, or repairs to a ministry vehicle.
Your support also allows us to respond to new ministry opportunities, such as facilitating disaster relief response, outreaches to marginalized groups, or new children’s education and adult vocational training programs.
Your support is especially crucial as we enter the fall season, when giving to nonprofits declines.
Thank you for coming alongside our missionaries as they serve the Lord and grow the Church by using their diverse gifts!
Kate Therese, Director of Mobilization